A consultation held in Spalding to discuss the future of the district’s library service turned into a “public hanging”
Protestors waved ‘Save Deepings Library’ banners outside and continued to disrupt the start of the meeting, with claims the document outlining criteria used to identify libraries threatened with closure is “littered with inaccuracies”.
They said the 2001 census used to identify libraries under threat did not reflect growth in the area – and the meeting was nothing more than a seminar to discuss how they could volunteer to run their facilities.
The party from the Deepings sat together on a table in the South Holland Centre instead of the allocated places with a council representative and a facilitator from Sheffield University.
Coun Phil Dilks called for the format of the agenda to be changed to allow more time for discussion.
He said: “We thought we were there for them to be able to ask questions, but instead it was to discuss how we could run it as volunteers. It was frustrating.
“They only wanted to talk about how we could run our libraries as volunteers.”
Coun Val Gemmell was present as Holbeach library is also under threat. She said: “The document states Fleet has a population of 100 when it is 1,000. It’s littered with inaccuracies. They should have used the 2010 census.”
Coun Nick Worth, Lincolnshire County Council’s executive member for libraries, said the disruption was not helpful.
He said: “What they wanted was a public hanging and it was not fair on others in the room.
“However, there was a 40-minute question and answer session at the end of the meeting.
“When the consultation document was written the 2011 census was not available and so a mix was used, including the 2001 census and information from data held by the Lincolnshire Research Observatory covering 2010-11.
“However, we will be revisiting areas where the population has changed significantly and for these areas and there will be some positive outcomes from this.
“Consultations have been set out with tables of ten to give everyone a fair chance to express their views and they have been very positive at other locations.”